Yesterday we looked at fixing five common problems with personal blogs. Today, let’s tackle five common problems with business blogs:
1 – What information should I have on my blog?
First, there’s contact information. If you have a retail location, you should have the address. If you’re a franchise, a locator. If your business is online, you should have links to your website.
Second, you should have pictures of your bloggers, preferrably on the FRONT of the blog, or a small pic of the blogger with each post they write.
Finally, you should have a way for me to contact you. The more information you can include here, the better. A stale contact form is the bare minimum. Think phone numbers, emails, Twitter handles. Give me as many options as possible.
2 – Our company blog has no sense or direction, how do we get it on track?
Start with WHY you are blogging? What are you trying to accomplish via the blog? Are you trying to provide CS to customers? Are you trying to establish your company’s expertise in your industry? Are you trying to sell stuff? Too many companies just decide to launch a blog, without a plan to guide their efforts. Get that plan in place, then the direction will come from the goal you are trying to reach.
3 – Ok, what the hell should we blog about? We need to sell stuff for the blog to be a success, but I keep reading that you can’t promote yourself on your blog! Help!
First, you CAN promote your company via your blog. The success is greatly dependent on the CONTEXT of that promotion. The context greatly shapes the effectiveness of the content, as well.
In general, when it comes to creating content on your blog, focus on the ‘bigger idea’ that makes your content more valuable and relevant. Don’t focus exclusively on your products, but WHY people or companies buy your stuff. What do THEY get from your product? Focus your content on THAT. If you sell cameras, blog about photography, and try to teach your customers to be better photographers. If you sell spices, blog about how your customers can use those spices to become better cooks.
Don’t craft your content as being ‘here by our stuff’, but rather write content that will help/inform/educate your customers and in the CONTEXT of that content, you can promote your products.
Remember that blogs are a great tool for making things happen indirectly. Craft your content so that it INdirectly promotes your products, and it will resonate with your customers.
4 – Ok it hasn’t happened yet, but I am scared to death that a customer is going to leave a comment saying we suck. How should we handle negative comments?
This is probably the biggest concern that companies have about blogging. What if customers use the blog as a tool to slam the company?
First, if a customer leaves a negative comment on or OFF your blog, follow these steps:
1 – Be RESPECTFUL of the commenter, THANK them for reaching out to you and LISTEN to what they are saying.
2 – Address their issue, and let them know what the next step YOU will take to resolve it will be. If possible, try to move the communication OFF the blog. Have someone contact them OFF the blog.
3 – Invite other customers to leave their feedback, and again thank those that do. Give them ways to get in touch with you, and clearly identify who you are, and your position/relationship to the company.
Do NOT get angry with the commenter, or attack them. You have to understand that when a customer leaves a negative comment about your company, the exchange between you and that person isn’t the most important thing happening here. How EVERYONE ELSE views that interaction is what counts. If the commenter is a jackass and you lose your temper, your company will STILL look bad to everyone that views the exchange.
5 – We need more comments, how do we get them?
Here’s some ideas for getting more comments:
1 – If you moderate comments, approve them as quickly as possible. This is a simple courtesy to your readers that shows them that you value their input.
2 – Post regularly. This encourages visitors to become readers, and readers are far more likely to leave comments than visitors that have found your blog for the first time.
3 – Reply to comments from your readers! Another no-brainer, but so many companies overlook this. It shows your readers that you are actually paying attention to their comments, and want to hear what they have to say. And the more comments a post has, the more likely readers are to check out the comments.
4 – Read the blogs of your regular commenters, and comment on THEIR blog as much as possible. This is a wonderful way to build community for your blog, and it’s another way to show your readers that you value their input. Then after you’ve discovered these wonderful blogs that your readers have, why not add a link to them on YOUR blog’s sidebar?
5 – Add a “window” to the comments. Let’s say you leave a post, and Laura leaves an absolutely amazing comment. Almost immediately, other readers start commenting on Laura’s comment! So a great way to ‘thank’ Laura for that comment, and to let your readers know about it, is to add her comment to the bottom of your post! Just add at the bottom of the post ‘Laura says in the comments’, and then Laura’s comment. And remember to ‘thank’ Laura, by also linking to her blog when you add her comment to your post! I do this by adding the blog link to the person’s name. You get to thank a reader for a great comment, and also let your other readers know about the party that’s happening in the comments to that post!
6 – Ask your readers for their comments! Not just their opinions, but ask them to please comment. However, note that this doesn’t work as well if you aren’t already replying to comments and commenting/linking to the blogs of your regular commenters.
There’s five common business blogging problems, and some tips for fixing them. Which ones did I miss that you need help with?